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The effectiveness of dantrolene sodium in controlling tetanic spasms was evaluated in 21 children (aged 4 days-13 years) with tetanus. These dantrolene-treated patients were compared with an historical control group of 26 children previously treated for tetanus by traditional means at the same institution. The groups were comparable in terms of age, other treatments, and severity of disease. All patients received standard treatments for tetanus, including sedatives, antibiotics, and tetanus-immune globulin. Patients in the dantrolene-treated group also received dantrolene, either intravenously (Dantrium Intravenous) or orally, in divided doses totalling 4-6 mg/kg/day. Mortality was 73% (neonates 83%, non-neonates 50%) in the control group, compared with 33% (neonates 50%, non-neonates 0%) in the dantrolene-treated group. Dantrolene did not cause additional respiratory depression when administered alone or in combination with other drugs routinely used to treat tetanus. In this study, the use of dantrolene with traditional conservative therapy significantly reduced mortality from tetanus.